I have several friends for who have used the word “frustrated” in response to the question, “How are things going in your ministry?”
Why Am I Frustrated?
If your ministry is a job, you will be frustrated for a few reasons.
- God promises in Genesis 3 that our work will be frustrated as a result of sin in the world.
- I’m convinced that Satan has a special department for ministers. He knows our weaknesses and he takes great joy in frustrating us.
- People tend to transfer things they can’t control into their lives onto you, because they think that since you are a minister, you work for them.
- Ministers have a tendency to transfer frustration from other areas of their lives into pressure/expectations on their ministry.
Tips for Dealing with Ministry Frustration
When we are frustrated we have a tendency to do things which are counter-intuitive. We convince ourselves that if we just work harder, accomplish more tasks, and focus more that things will get better. My experience has taught me just the opposite. When I’m really frustrated… these are the tendencies I’ve learned which alleviate the frustration and get me back on course.
- Push Jesus, not your next thing. In vocational ministry you feel a lot of pressure to get people to come to stuff your ministry does. So you make the mistake of preaching your announcements. Don’t do that. People are made for Good News. The Good News of Jesus is a people magnet. Why? Made in His image, all humans have an innate desire to connect with their image bearer… and you’re not it. Your next ministry event will not attract anyone. Don’t fool yourself. But the more your ministry reflects the heart of Christ, the more you will grow.
- Busy is OK, get centered. “I’m so busy. I’ve got too many plates spinning.” Not to sound trite, but busyness is part of being an adult. You aren’t any more busy than other adults in your life. And trust me, you are less busy than most of your volunteers. So getting frustrated simply because you are busy isn’t realistic. No one loves it but you can learn to rise above the busyness to find peace. Instead of allowing busyness to run my life, I’ve learned that busyness draws me towards what’s really important, my relationship with Jesus. I practice lectio divina and centering prayer during seasons of busyness. Try it. Money back guarantee.
- Waste time with people, not projects. I’m not saying your ministry projects are a waste of time. Events, producing services, curriculum, mission trips, and all that stuff are the bread and butter of vocational ministry. My point is that when I’m frustrated in ministry it’s because I care too much about projects and not enough about people. None of us went into ministry to ride a desk. We need to be with people! As a result, when you are really frustrated with your ministry work less on projects and hang out with people more.